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Old December 10 2012, 04:02 PM   #301
JarodRussell
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

Let's face it. If you feel insulted by a compliment like "You have a lovely wife", then, quite frankly, it's your loss, and I don't give a damn. You sound like someone who looks for opportunities to feel offended.
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Old December 10 2012, 06:04 PM   #302
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

Here's one I hate:

"Stay cool" (if it's hot) or "Stay warm" (if it's cold).

I always want to say back, "You know? If you hadn't said that, I'd have been standing outside freezing my ass off, but now that you fucking REMINDED me to stay warm, jackass, I guess I'll do it!"

And of course this:

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Old December 10 2012, 07:22 PM   #303
rhubarbodendron
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

I don't exactly hate it, but it really puzzles me when I'm in the US and at every shop the staff asks "How are you today?" I am never sure what I am expected to say. I'm aware that it's just a phrase but would it be acceptable for me to speak the truth (not that well, I have a horrible headache, but thanks for asking) or am I expected to follow the hollowed American tradition of white lies and say "thanks, I'm fine" even when I'm on the verge of dying?
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Old December 10 2012, 07:23 PM   #304
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
I don't exactly hate it, but it really puzzles me when I'm in the US and at every shop the staff asks "How are you today?" I am never sure what I am expected to say. I'm aware that it's just a phrase but would it be acceptable for me to speak the truth (not that well, I have a horrible headache, but thanks for asking) or am I expected to follow the hollowed American tradition of white lies and say "thanks, I'm fine" even when I'm on the verge of dying?
That really depends on how much of a follow-up conversation you want to have.

My customers ask me how I'm doing all the time, and I've gotten so bored with the question that my standard answer is now, "Oh, you know," and then I walk away.

That, or I say "Can't complain," which is always followed up with the even more annoying, "It wouldn't matter if you did."
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Old December 10 2012, 07:25 PM   #305
JarodRussell
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
I don't exactly hate it, but it really puzzles me when I'm in the US and at every shop the staff asks "How are you today?" I am never sure what I am expected to say. I'm aware that it's just a phrase but would it be acceptable for me to speak the truth (not that well, I have a horrible headache, but thanks for asking) or am I expected to follow the hollowed American tradition of white lies and say "thanks, I'm fine" even when I'm on the verge of dying?
Just say "fine, thanks, how are you" and be done with it? I don't get why you have to label it negative with "lie".

And then, you might try to speak the truth by saying "no I have a headache" and may realize that the other side actually cares.




Btw, do you also have an issue with TV and radio news anchors greeting you with "Good morning/day/evening"? They can't see you, they don't even know you, why are they wasting their time?
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Old December 10 2012, 07:28 PM   #306
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

You could also try being mean and see how they react. Could be funny.

"How are you today?"
"Fucking shitty. How are you?"
"I, uh...." *runs away*
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Old December 10 2012, 08:45 PM   #307
Alidar Jarok
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

I usually go with "not too bad." That's probably accurate most of the time.
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Old December 10 2012, 08:57 PM   #308
rhubarbodendron
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

Good idea!

@RoJoHen: that'd be mean. After all they are just doing their job


Jarod, I meant no insult. I was given to understand that "white lies" is an official term for an untruth you are expected to say in certain social situations.

This is one of these cases where cultural differences between countries suddenly become obvious.
In my country we don't know the concept of white lies. So much so that we don't even have a word for them.
We do lie - to people we heartily dislike or when a lie is necessary to rescue or necks (we call the latter emergency-lies).

It all boils down to a question of etiquette. In Germany, the question "how are you" is used to start a conversation. You are supposed to tell the true state of your physical and/or emotional condition.
In a shop such a question would therefore be considered too personal and hence inappropriate. The staff will only say "good morning/evening. Can I help you?"

In the US it's different. But I am not certain what the proper American etiquette would be. Am I supposed to answer the phrase with another phrase (I'm fine, thanks. How are you?) or am I allowed to say the truth, at the risk of knocking the poor staff member off kilter?

At my visits to America I noticed that one is generally supposed to keep an unpleasant truth not only to oneself but to assure the other person of the opposite.
For example: "do I look fat in this dress?"
American hubby: "not at all! You look gorgeous!" Result: woman goes out in that dress and becomes the laughing stock of half the town.
German hubby: "well, since you ask, a little bit indeed. How about wearing the blue one? I think you look better in that" Result: wife wears blue dress that camouflages those of her curves that are not-so-perfect.

The difference is: Americans believe that an unpleasant truth always hurts equally bad. Germans believe that the truth will inevitably arise and that it's better to hear it from someone we like because they'll break it to us gentler than strangers.

Mind, I don't say either way is better. My point is that different countries have different etiquette and different ways of dealing with the same problem. This leads all too often to misunderstandings that are embarassing at best and can lead to flame wars at worst.
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Old December 10 2012, 09:08 PM   #309
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

Just how bad does she look in that dress?!
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Old December 10 2012, 09:09 PM   #310
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

The question about how to respond is if you want to start a conversation. You said that, generally, it's not something you would be talking to a stranger about and I tend to agree. But it's your response that makes it a conversation rather than just a response acknowledging the fact that the person acknowledged you.

Although it's not entirely useless. Certainly, if it's something within the power of the person you are speaking to to correct, feel free to bring it up.
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Old December 10 2012, 09:21 PM   #311
Lumos Ziyal
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

Rhubarbodendron, I think I like the German way you describe better than the American. I rarely ask people how they are unless I really want to know, but I'm not typical. "Fine, thanks" is the safe and usually-expected answer when it's a stranger asking. Think of it as a ritual, rather than a conversation.
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Old December 10 2012, 10:03 PM   #312
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
I don't exactly hate it, but it really puzzles me when I'm in the US and at every shop the staff asks "How are you today?" I am never sure what I am expected to say. I'm aware that it's just a phrase but would it be acceptable for me to speak the truth (not that well, I have a horrible headache, but thanks for asking) or am I expected to follow the hollowed American tradition of white lies and say "thanks, I'm fine" even when I'm on the verge of dying?
I don't know about the rest of the buisness world, but at the small chiropractic office where I work we are told to ask "how are you today" as a way of making the patient feel welcome. As for the "appropriate" response, there isn't one. Whether they say I feel awful or just fine is up to them. Of course thats for a health care facility. I have no idea how someone in a grocery store would expect the customer to answer...
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Old December 10 2012, 10:19 PM   #313
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
"Can't complain," which is always followed up with the even more annoying, "It wouldn't matter if you did."
It should instead be followed up with, "You're right. You can't."
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Old December 10 2012, 11:04 PM   #314
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
T'Preea wrote: View Post
"It makes no difference" in reference to "paper or plastic? *I'm a checker at a grocery store* Half the time I want so smack those people. It makes all the difference. Sorry, I'm ranting.
I'm surprised that you work in a store that still gives people an option. Nobody around here even has paper bags anymore.
*sad panda* Washington State passed a bill that by the end of next year, plastic will no longer be available and stores will start charging for paper. Unless, of course; the customers have their own fabric, re-usable bags. I work in Snohomish County, which is one of three that haven't yet complied with that bill.
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Old December 10 2012, 11:10 PM   #315
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Re: Sayings that you hate now

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
I don't exactly hate it, but it really puzzles me when I'm in the US and at every shop the staff asks "How are you today?"/.../
Isn't the phrase just a variation of the old How do you do?
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